WHITE MILLS—The grounds of the Dorflinger-Suydam Outdoor Music Amphitheater will resonate with both solemn and celebratory reverence this Saturday, September 15, from 3-9 p.m., for the 2nd Annual Fall Music Festival.
Organized by close friends, Jamie Rutherford, Joe Adams, Joe Gombita, Bob Carmody and Todd Stephens, the event came about as a means to grieve and commiserate among friends the painful loss of a loved one.
“It's a way to remember our friends who are not here with us,” said Rutherford, “But it's also a way to remember and cherish those friends who are still here.”
Rutherford explained he and Carmody tossed around the idea several years ago on a snowmobile trail after the latter had suffered a great personal loss.
That idea was to host a benefit in the name of loved ones lost too soon, to grieve together among friends and raise money for others in the community.
“We've learned to share the experience of grief,” said Rutherford, noting that the very act of organizing the benefit festival together has helped each deal with his own turmoil.
The festival is being held in loving memory of Kate Frisch Carmody, Kelley William Lalley, William John Rogers, Robert Diehl, Jake Hopkins, Joseph Gerard Bunnell and Brian Hunt-Rutherford.
For those looking to share in the memory of these individuals and other close friends and family, tickets to the festival are available from Stephens Pharmacy and ReMax Wayne in Honesdale, The Dock at Silver Birches and I.G.A Supermarket in Hawley, and Crossroad's and the Waymart Hotel in Waymart.
Prices are $20 for pre-sale and $25 at the door.
While festival attendees enjoy the sounds of local soloist Owen Walsh and musical groups Graham Baxter, Ballard Spahr Galactica and Steppin' Eddy, the cost of their admittance will go toward several scholarship funds:
• The Robert F. Diehl Jr. Scholarship Fund – started on March 31, 2017 on behalf of the late Wayne Highlands School District director of education and benefitting a Honesdale High School senior looking to attend a two- or four-year technical school to help with specific classes designed for their intended job;
• A Fund in Memory of Kate Frisch Carmody – raises money for cancer awareness and for those in need of treatment, and is a scholarship for cosmetology school;
• Kelly Lalley Fund – benefits a Honesdale High School senior boys basketball player who exemplifies Kelly Lalley's ideals, including character, leadership and selfless devotion to his team, school, family and community; the fund also promotes community programs and organizations;
• Jerry “Jake” Hopkins Scholarship Fund – benefits a Honesdale High School senior attending a technical school.
Of the festival, Stephens noted, “It's really an event that's driven by the passion of the people.”
As a member of Graham Baxter, Stephens said it was “a great honor, but also a great responsibility” when the group asked his band to play at the festival.
They chose songs both recognizable and relevant to the intended ambience.
“The beauty of the whole thing,” said Stephens, “is the money being raised goes towards scholarships.”
Noting the outpouring of community support which helped bring the event together - from the bands playing, to Dorflinger for the venue and for all who helped promote it – Adams said “This is Wayne County. It's good people doing good things for good causes. It's what we do.”
Similarly, Rutherford noted, “We have a large number of people that truly care on our team, which allows us to complete our task at hand.
“It's the community that believes in itself, it's people. That is what makes our area special.”
Spurred on by such support and for the cause of helping the next generation, Adams, Rutherford and Stephens all expressed a desire to see the festival persist for many years to come.
The Fall Music Festival is scheduled for Saturday afternoon from 3-9 p.m. with a rain date of Sunday, September 16 from 12-6 p.m.
The Dorflinger-Suydam amphitheater is located at 55 Suydam Drive, Honesdale.